GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE is underway, giving attendees the opportunity to experience two days of virtual education, networking and booth visits with up to 80 companies. The show opened this morning with the Run for Glass VE 5K, which benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Several industry professionals participated in the virtual run, including more than 25 employees from Wood’s Powr-Grip.

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Did you participate in the virtual Run for Glass VE 5K? If so, we’d love to see your pictures! Email them to Jordan Scott at

Anthony Darkangelo, CEO of the Finishing Contractors Association (FCA) International, gave a welcome speech to attendees this morning to kick off the educational sessions.

“This global pandemic has surely produced times unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. They bring new challenges and difficulties, but they also bring new opportunities. We are a community dedicated to collaboration and innovation and the only way forward is together,” he said, commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the industry and the GlassCon Global event’s move to a virtual format. “… We’re excited to provide education to help drive innovation in our industry year to year.”

Educational sessions are scheduled throughout both days of the event. Live Q&A sessions with the presenters take place from 1:30-2 p.m. and 5:30-6 p.m. (all times are Eastern Time).

The virtual, interactive trade show takes place from 1-5 p.m. today and from 9-10 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. tomorrow. Show partners are equipped with a virtual interactive booth space where they’ll share product information through videos, downloadable PDFs and other materials. In addition, attendees can engage with company representatives through live, text-based chat. A list of personnel on hand is visible in each booth so attendees can request specific representatives.


Dr. Franz Prettenthaler discusses which materials emit the most carbon dioxide per ton.

Dr. Franz Prettenthaler, director of the Life Institute for Climate, Energy and Society at Joanneum Research, presented his keynote speech, “Climate Impact and Paris Lifestyle,” following Darkangelo’s remarks. He spoke about the causes and impacts of climate change as well as the role of glass in a sustainable future.

His presentation began with an explanation of what climate change is and how there are natural geological factors as well as man-made factors such as carbon dioxide emissions. He said that while many might attribute especially cold or warm temperatures to natural variability, that does not take into account the global picture.

“Climate is the average weather over 30 years,” said Prettenthaler.

While geological factors can also be taken into account, he explained that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the largest impact factor for the global climate.

Prettenthaler looked at different construction materials’ carbon dioxide emissions. When looking at a comparison of global carbon dioxide emissions by industry sectors, steel produces 3 billion tons of CO2 annually compared to 1 billion tons of CO2 annually by aluminum and only 100 million tons by glass. He described glass’ emissions as negligible. However, when looking at a comparison of global average CO2 emissions per ton, aluminum produces by far the most due to its light weight.

“The glass industry needs to look closely into which alliances it enters into with other construction materials. Steel needs to do some decarbonization work and aluminum per ton has carbon issues to solve,” he said, proposing wood as a sustainable material that could be used. “That’s a research topic for the future.”

Presenters answer questions during a live question and answer during during GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE.

He also encouraged the use of thinner glass as a way to cut back on material usage. In addition, Prettenthaler proposed two possible uses for glass to help improve global carbon dioxide emissions. The first is a transportation pod, which could weather-proof bike lanes, making cities more bike-able throughout the year as biking is the most efficient form of transportation. The second is for use on roofs to facilitate urban gardening and prevent soil erosion. Prettenthaler explained that the greening period for plants has shifted four weeks earlier over the past 40 years, making plants more susceptible to frost damage. Thin glass systems on roofs could protect agriculture from the weather while still allowing in sunlight.

Registration is free and open through the end of the show today and tomorrow at The virtual event runs through September 10, 2020, and is co-organized by the FCA International and USGlass and [DWM] magazines. Stay tuned to USGNN™ throughout the week for our continuing coverage.